Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Tribute To The Fallen where I discuss films that weren't nominated at the Oscars, yet in my opinion should have. Today, I will go into a smaller film that voters probably never heard of. That film is the criminally underrated prison pic Starred Up.
Now, the film wasn't on the Academy's eligibility list, but it still had some minor traction from the National Board of Review who named it one of the Top 10 Independent Films of the Year. Plus, a lot of breakthrough notices for lead actor Jack O'Connell were awarded for his work in Unbroken and this.
Even if it was eligible and had more steam, I would imagine that it still would slip through the cracks for a few reasons. One is that it is very brooding and violent. Plus, almost every sentence is laced with a cuss word. While they did recognize a film like Foxcatcher, which was also pretty grim, that was more into the Academy's wheelhouse: 2-hour running time, famous comedian playing it straight and laced in makeup, based on a true story, etc. But Starred Up doesn't fall into any of those categories. Quite a shame because this film is ten times better than that one and even surpasses half of the actual Best Picture nominees. Because of that, it made me a little saddened to see a near perfect film like this not appear anywhere while watching the Oscar ceremony. On the surface, this seems like a violent prison film. But in reality, it is a film about the bond between fathers and sons and the will to hopefully start again, putting our rough pasts behind us.
Next, I'll go into the categories in which it deserved attention. First off, there is Best Picture and Best Director for David Mackenzie. Also, Best Original Screenplay by Jonathan Asser, who demonstrates how a harmless group therapy session can suddenly become a verbal dogfight, as well as Best Actor for Jack O'Connell. Plus, there is Best Sound Editing/Mixing, and most importantly, Best Supporting Actor for Ben Mendelsohn. I loved Whiplash and J.K. Simmons' performance, but in my mind, Ben Mendelsohn was the true best supporting actor of the year. As I mentioned in my review, Mendelsohn is very multi-dimensional in this as he walks with intimidating swagger yet behind all that, reveals a concerned father terrified for his son. He rules his prison with an iron fist, yet you will want his shoulder to cry on. In the end, I did get pretty emotional and that is thanks in large part to his work.
So those are my thoughts on why I think Starred Up deserved some Oscar love. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!